Josh Jones may not have been a household name among Green Bay Packers fans heading into the 2017 NFL season, but he certainly is looking ahead to 2018. After being drafted No. 61 overall in the 2017 NFL Draft, the Packers put Jones in quite a few different positions throughout his rookie season.
Whether he was playing safety, more of a cornerback role, or even at times in linebacker situations, Jones showed flashes of superstar potential. He showed sure tackling ability along with playmaking skills. If he can continue developing and ends up reaching his full potential, the sky is the limit for Jones.
Throughout the course of his rookie season, according to ESPN statistics, Jones ended up recording 71 total tackles to go along with two sacks, an interception, and five defended passes. Those numbers show exactly what Ted Thompson and company had confidence in drafting him in the second round.
In a season that was a major disappointment for the Packers, Jones was a major bright spot. After starting the year off 4-1, the Packers missed the playoffs and major changes have already been made.
Thompson has stepped aside from his general managing duties, while Brian Gutekunst has taken over his job. Dom Capers was fired from his defensive coordinating role and Mike Pettine was brought in. The addition of Pettine could be exceptional news for Jones moving forward.
Looking ahead to the 2018 season, Jones could end up becoming a starter for the Packers depending on what happens in free agency. Morgan Burnett is set to hit the open market and Green Bay could let him go. If they do, there is no one currently on the roster that would be ahead of Jones on the depth chart.
Whether he was able to do enough in 2017 to prove that he is a capable starter as a second-year player remains to be seen. That being said, simply looking at the performances that he had, it seems likely that he would be a more than serviceable starting safety along with Ha Ha Clinton-Dix.
Jones made a massive play for the Packers in what could have been a season-saving situation against the Cleveland Browns late in the season. He made his first career interception, picking off Browns’ quarterback DeShone Kizer. It wasn’t the most amazing interception, but he showed a lot of heart and effort to go get the football.
— Green Bay Packers (@packers) December 10, 2017
Needless to say, Jones’ future with the Packers is incredibly bright. He earned a lot of playing time as a rookie in 2017 and will only continue developing and becoming a bigger part of the Packers’ defense. Under Pettine, Jones will fit well into a more aggressive scheme and has the tools to become a big-time playmaker.
Grading his rookie season isn’t too difficult, as he was one of the only consistent pieces on the Packers’ defense. If he continues developing at the rate that he is capable of, Jones has stardom in his near future.